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OK guys, we are BACK!
I know I am, let’s DO THIS.
Do what you ask?
Finish off the last post (read here), which was the first part of the response to my schoolmate DP ‘s question:
Knowing everything you do now, what path would you tell your 15 year old self to go down?
So let’s get to it, onto the next part!
Wait, aren’t you forgetting something?
Oh yeah, that’s right – before we jump in, I have to mention a big THANK YOU to everyone who commented and read through the previous post, it was one of the more commented on posts I’ve written and very well received.
I especially appreciate many people sharing and writing through an intimate detail of their life.
Seems like we all have a word or two to say to our younger selves aye!
Secondly, before I actually forget – I’m off back to the Motherland (China) on Friday, which means that there is a fairly high chance that I may be AWOL for a couple of weeks.
I’ve researched on how to peep through the Great Firewall, and if I can – rest assured, I’ll keep the blog posts coming.
BUT if I can’t – don’t worry, will be posting through our adventures as soon as I return.
The purpose of heading overseas initially was a celebration of MrsFrugalSamurai and I being married here in Oz.
It’s the first time we are going back since the wedding earlier this year.
However, as is so often the case – fate intervened.
With the recent passing of my Grandma (I dedicated a whole post to you Grandma), it means that the celebration has turned into something much more muted.
Which I think is the perfect lead-in to today’s post on the other two aspects of life being Relationships and Spiritual (the previous post covered Health, Learning and Work).
You know, growing up as a teen – I always thought that relationships are the kind between lovers.
The kind where you could say “oh yeah, I’m in a relationship” and be the envy of your peers because you’re cool enough to have a girl like you.
Well that’s the definition most chubby, pimply 15 year old males have ain’t it?
Then as I grow older I start to realize that yes that is ONE kind of relationship, but the world is more complicated than just trying to steal a kiss at the library after dark.
In fact, what makes the world go round is not money as the saying goes, but relationships.
Everything in our life is as a result of our relationships.
If you have a good relationship with your barista at the local cafe – your daily coffee is made with just that extra bit of attention.
If you have a good relationship with your boss at work – your 9 to 5 goes by much smoother.
If you have a good relationship with your spouse at home – then life is not difficult, it’s a game to be won between best friends.
I think that up until I was well into my late 20’s, honestly – I didn’t place the value and care onto relationships as they deserved.
It’s not that I’m a bad person (at least I don’t THINK so), just that growing up – I may have valued the dollar more than anything else.
The opportunity cost of going out, spending $, missing out on reading and learning was too great – but I now know I have paid an even higher price.
This was reaffirmed by the fact that very recently, a bunch of guys who I have grown up with, went overseas to attend a wedding for one of them.
I wasn’t invited but nor was I expecting to be.
However, the photos and stories coming from that weekend away seemed like I had missed out on a milestone date with friends who I was and should be more close to.
Perhaps if I had taken better care of my relationships – I too would be part of the shenanigans?
Money is money – but relationships are what makes us humans tick.
But hey that’s not to say I was a complete money-hungry, emotionless arsehole who steals candy from little children (you don’t steal, you just take – it’s SO easy).
The one thing which I have always been proud of, since 15 – heck, since as long as I can remember – is my relationship with my family.
I am incredibly blessed to have two of the most loving and understanding parents, to the extent that our bond is undoubtedly one of the closest I have encountered between parents and their children.
Some of us are very lucky to have this, and I never taken for granted this relationship after listening, reading and witnessing other familial bonds.
This has rubbed off onto my relationship with the extended family overseas – for this, I am very fortunate.
Older self: “As you get older, cherish the relationships you have made during primary school, during high school, during uni – continue to nurture them even as you go your separate ways in the real world”.
Younger self: “Yeah, yeah, whatever old fogey – tell me, how do you unhook a bra with one hand?”
The last and most important aspect of life in my opinion is the spiritual.
I don’t necessarily mean it in the Holy sense, as this is not a religious blog – I mean it in terms of the intangible aspect of our lives.
Our inner being, who we are and what we believe in.
In essence, it is our purpose.
Growing up this one was easy.
My purpose was not to have my children be brought up in the same circumstances and conditions which I was.
You see, my parents, as much as I love them – are not the financially savvy kind.
Unfortunately, they also left China at the very worst time – when it opened its doors to the world in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
You could not NOT make money back then, even if you tried.
So here we are, you have a set of parents kicking themselves every single day for migrating, starting from absolute zero without any… relationships, minimal savings and limited language skills.
You have a child, who’s brought up in this environment and who begins to feel insecure about his social standing.
Naturally – the child tries to alleviate this by trying to find ways to compensate.
Therein was first-born the attraction of money to me.
“If I could just make more, I can provide a better future for my family and I.”
But you know, that was me throughout my teens and all throughout my 20’s.
Being frugal (translation: tightarse, cheapskate, stingy – all worn with a badge of honour), looking for investment opportunities, learning more about making money.
Often at the cost of relationships (as said before).
Of course, I’m satisfied of what I’ve accomplished financially at 31 (not done yet by any means) but now I often ask myself whether it is worth what I had to sacrifice in my 20’s?
These days I’m more at peace with myself regarding those former insecurities. If there’s one thing I would say to the kid of my youth is to not be too hard on yourself, that if the effort and time is put in, this too shall pass.
And you know – just like how my Grandma always told me when she was with us:
“As we get older we look back more and more and always marvel how much focus we put on the things which don’t matter”.
So true Grandma! You’d be proud to know that as I get older – I find myself looking for more and more ways to try and give back a little.
Nothing astronomical like Bill Gates or Elon Musk – they’re one in a million types, but more in terms of what I can – this blog, coaching a junior soccer team, food hand-outs for the disadvantaged.
You know, things which an ordinary guy with nothing to lose can do!
Older self: “Money is good, but it is worth nothing compared to the love of a good woman, the laughter of close friends and the smile of a stranger on the sidewalk.”
Younger self: “WTF who cares – QUICKLY future man, tell me which stocks to buy for the future???”
So that’t it DP, hope you enjoyed the posts and thank you for the blog topic!
So if you enj…
Oh wait! Shit, before I go, I just realized I actually haven’t answered his question HA HA HA.
You’ve been so patient as I ramble on, and I haven’t even specified the answer!
Let’s see now… ummm…
You know what?
Knowing everything I do now, the path I would recommend for my 15 year old self would be to take things slower, learn to love yourself more – your financial situation will improve.
Also school is not the be all, end all – it’s the real world where you really need to be educated in.
And cherish those relationships you have, they’re only as strong as the time and effort you put in.
Oh and finally – study Mining Engineering (like JC3), earn $250k a year, work for 5 years and buy a shitload of Sydney real estate so you can retire at 30, so easy, so simpaul!
Catch you next time!
What would you tell your 15 year old self? Let me know in the comments below!
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P.S. Maybe I’ll do a “What would you tell your 30 year old self series”, when I’m 60…
P.P.S. Again, hope to catch up with you guys when I’m in China – if not, see you in a couple of weeks!